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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 24, 2020

Taco Bell owner Yum Brands raises dividend
Yum Brands Inc. said late Friday its board of directors declared a dividend of 47 cents a share, an increase of 12%. The dividend will be paid March 6 to shareholders of record on Feb. 14, the fast-food chain said. Shares of Yum were flat in the extended session after ending the regular trading day down 0.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 24, 2020

Stocks end lower on worries over coronavirus outbreak
Stocks ended lower Friday, giving up early gains after authorities confirmed a second U.S. coronavirus case. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell around 170 points, or 0.6%, to end near 28,990, according to preliminary figures, while the S&P 500 lost around 30 points, or 0.9%, to finish near 3,295. The Nasdaq Composite closed near 9,315, off around 88 points, or 0.9%. Analysts said stocks were vulnerable to a pullback as concerns rise about the potential effect of the viral outbreak on global growth. Chinese authorities have moved to restrict movement into and out of several cities, including Wuhan, the center of the outbreak. The spread of the respiratory virus in China and to other countries rattled global markets, fueling fears that the disruption to travel and trade may undermine global economic growth.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 24, 2020

U.S. oil suffers biggest weekly fall since May
Oil futures ended sharply lower Friday, as worries over potential oversupply were augmented by fears the spread of the coronavirus could undercut demand for crude. West Texas Intermediate crude March delivery fell $1.40, or 2.5%, to end at $54.19 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after hitting the lowest level for a most active contract since late October. The U.S. benchmark saw a 7.5% weekly drop, its biggest such fall since a nearly 9% drop in the week ending May 31, according to FactSet.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 24, 2020

Boeing to consider more cuts to 787 Dreamliner production: report
Boeing Co. is considering further production cuts to its 787 Dreamliner jets, according to CNBC on Friday, which cited a statement from the jet maker. Boeing last year said it would cut production of the wide-body jets to 12 from 14 a month for about two years beginning in late 2020. Some in the industry had seen risk that the Dreamliner production rate could be further lowered due to lack of demand. Boeing did not immediately return a request for comment. The jet maker has been mired in controversy over its narrow-body 737 Max planes, grounded since March after two deadly crashes. In the statement to CNBC, the company said that it maintains "a disciplined rate management process taking into account a host of risks and opportunities. We will continue to assess the demand environment and make adjustments as appropriate in the future." Boeing shares fell 1.4% on Friday and have lost 12% in the past 12 months, which contrasts with gains of 18% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average . Boeing is a Dow component.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 24, 2020

Massachusetts to sell $900 million worth of weed in 2020, says analyst
Massachusetts will likely continue to see marijuana supply shortages in 2020, according to a Canaccord Genuity research note to clients Friday. Analyst Bobby Burleson wrote that he expects continued licensing delays and increased pressure to operate the state's economic empowerment and social equity initiatives to be contributing factors. Wholesale weed prices are among the most expensive in the U.S., and are driven by the limited supply due to the scarcity of licenses, Burleson wrote. Massachusetts had a "strong" first full year of pot sales, recording $445 million in sales, according to the Cannabis Control Commission. Burleson expects 2020 sales of $900 million. Weed stocks largely fell Friday, with the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF down 4.1% in early afternoon trading; the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF fell 3.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 24, 2020

Gold prices notch gains for the day and week as coronavirus fears intensify
Gold prices finish higher on Friday, ending at the highest settlement in about three weeks as a viral outbreak originating out of China continued to grow. February gold closed $6.50, or 0.4%, higher at $1,571.90 an ounce on Comex. The metal also marked a weekly gain of 0.4%. China has moved to restrict movement of some 46 million people in and out of cities near the center of the outbreak, while also canceling Lunar New Year events as the number of infections continued to rise. The virus also continued to spread to other countries. Friday's settlement marks gold's highest since Jan.7, according to FactSet data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 24, 2020

Oil remains sharply lower as U.S. rig count rises
Crude futures remained sharply lower Friday after oil-field-services company Baker Hughes said the number of U.S. oil rigs rose by 3 from last week to 676. West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was off $1.40, or 2.5%, at $54.19 a barrel in recent trade.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 24, 2020

Shanghai Disney to close indefinitely in response to coronavirus outbreak
Shares of Walt Disney Co. fell 0.8% in morning trading Friday, extending the previous session's 1.3% selloff, after Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown said it will "temporarily" close starting Jan. 25 in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The closure comes at the start of the Lunar New Year holiday. "We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and be in close contact with the local government, and we will announce the reopening date upon confirmation," Shanghai Disney Resort said in a statement. Fellow Dow Jones Industrial Average components McDonald's Corp. also said Friday that it had closed stores in Wuhan and surrounding cities in China because of the coronavirus outbreak, which has led to at least 25 deaths. Disney's stock has gained 8.3% over the past three months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced 8.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 24, 2020

Naval air station near Chicago on lockdown
The Great Lakes Naval Air Station in suburban Chicago is on lockdown Friday morning after a vehicle passed through a security checkpoint without presenting credentials. "We had a gate runner at 7:09 a.m.," a spokesman said, describing the driver as having cleared an entry-control area "without showing credentials and kept going." Personnel on the base were being advised to take cover. The 1,600-acre base on the Lake Michigan shoreline about 40 miles north of downtown Chicago, in North Chicago, Ill., is the Navy's largest training installation and the home of the Navy's only boot camp, noted the Chicago Tribune.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 24, 2020

McDonald's shuts restaurants in Wuhan due to coronavirus
McDonald's Corp. said Friday that it has shut stores in Wuhan and surrounding cities in China due to the coronavirus outbreak. In a statement from McDonald's in Asia, the company said that the fast-food giant's operations in the Hubei province are normally in cities where public transportation is accessible. In Wuhan, Ezhou, Huanggang, Qianjiang and Xiantao, public transport has been suspended. Across China, McDonald's has taken measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including a required system of measuring worker body temperatures when they arrive for work; the distribution of masks to crew members and hand sanitizers to customers; and stepped up cleaning of delivery boxes after they return to the restaurant. McDonald's stock has gained 13.8% over the past year while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 19%. Read also: McDonald's earnings preview: Chick-fil-A is the fast-food giant's biggest competition in the U.S.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 24, 2020

CDC confirms second coronavirus case in U.S., a Chicago resident who returned from Wuhan on Jan. 13
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday it has confirmed a second case in the U.S. of the coronavirus that has led to the quarantine of the Chinese city of Wuhan. The patient is a female Chicago resident in her 60s, who returned from a visit to Wuhan on Jan. 13, the CDC said on a call with reporters. Another 63 patients in 22 states are being investigated for signs of the virus, said the agency. The Chinese authorities have said more than 800 cases of the illness have been confirmed and at least 25 patients have died. The illness is understood to have broken out at a seafood market in Wuhan and is being spread human-to-human. People in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Macao, and one other man in the U.S. have been infected.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 24, 2020

Stocks open slightly higher after strong earnings
Stocks opened with modest gains Friday, with the Nasdaq Composite pushing further into record territory, after a round of strong corporate earnings overshadowed worries over the spread of the coronavirus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 96 points, or 0.3%, to 29,256, while the S&P 500 was up around 3 points, or 0.1%, at 3,329. The Nasdaq Composite rose 40 points or 0.4%, to 9,441 -- after posting a record finish on Thursday. Shares of Dow component Intel Corp. jumped more than 7% after reporting data-center sales late Thursday that topped Wall Street estimates. Shares of American Express Co. also powered higher, rising 5%, after reporting a fourth-quarter profit that beat expectations.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 24, 2020

Aphria gets C$100 million investment from unnamed institutional investor
Canadian cannabis company Aphria Inc. said Friday it has entered an agreement to receive a C$100 million (76.2 million) investment from an unnamed institutional investor. The investor purchased 14 million units of the company priced at C$7.12 per unit, the company said in a statement. Each unit is comprised on one common share and one-half of one common share warrant, entitling the holder to purchase a share at a price of $9.26 for 24 months after the closing date. Proceeds of the deal will be used to finance international expansion, working capital and for general corporate purposes. U.S.-listed hares rose 3.8% premarket on the news, but are down 17% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 24, 2020

Cannabis REIT Innovative Industrial Properties stock falls after stock offering prices at discount
Shares of Innovative Industrial Properties Inc. dropped 4.5% in premarket trading, after the real estate investment trust (REIT), which focuses on properties leased to cannabis companies, announced that pricing of a stock offering at a near 8% discount. The company said its offering of 2,967,799 shares, representing about 22% of the shares outstanding, priced at $73.25 to raise $217.4 million. That pricing was 7.8% below Thursday's close of $79.45. The company plans to use the proceeds from the stock sale to invest in real estate assets. The stock has rallied 9.6% over the past 3 months through Thursday, while the SPDR Real Estate Select Sector ETF has edged up 0.2%, the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF declined 11% and the S&P 500 has gained 10.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 24, 2020

Co-Diagnostics' stock tumbles after stock sale agreement priced at 29% discount
Shares of Co-Diagnostics Inc. tumbled 16% in premarket trading Friday, after the molecular diagnostics company took advantage of the prior session's big rally to enter into a stock sale agreement. The company said it agreed to sell 3,448,278 shares, representing about 20% of the shares outstanding, to institutional investors at $1.45 a share, which was 28.6% below Thursday's closing price of $2.03 but 28.3% above Wednesday's closing price of $1.13. Co-Diagnostics's stock had rocketed 80% on Thursday on trading volume of 36.1 million shares, after the company said it had "completed principle design work" for a test to screen the Wuhan coronavirus. The stock has nearly doubled (up 99%) over the past three months through Thursday, while the S&P 500 has gained 10.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 24, 2020

Cincinnati Bell's gets another buyout bid that is 14% above the deal agreed with Brookfield Infrastructure
Cincinnati Bell Inc. said Friday that it has received an unsolicited buyout bid from an "infrastructure fund" for $12 a share in cash. That bid is 14% above the buyout deal Cincinnati Bell made with Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P. in December for $10.50 a share, in a deal valued at $2.6 billion including debt. The new bid implies a market capitalization for the communications company of about $605 million. "Cincinnati Bell has commenced discussions with the Fund regarding the Proposal following Cincinnati Bell's board of directors having made the required determinations under the Brookfield Merger Agreement that allow it to do so," Cincinnati Bell said in a statement. "The Brookfield Merger Agreement remains in effect and accordingly the Cincinnati Bell board reaffirms its existing recommendation in support of the transaction with Brookfield Infrastructure at this time." Cincinnati Bell's stock has more than doubled (up 115%) over the past three months while the S&P 500 has gained 10.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 24, 2020

American Express's stocks rises toward a record after profit beat expectations
Shares of American Express Co. surged 1.8% toward a record high in premarket trading Friday, after the credit card and travel services company reported a fourth-quarter profit that beat expectations, while revenue was in line. Net income fell to $1.69 billion, or $2.03 a share, from $2.01 billion, or $2.32 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share rose to $2.03 from $1.74, above the FactSet consensus of $2.01. Total revenue, net of interest expense, increased 9% to $11.37 billion, matching the FactSet consensus, amid continued growth in fees, spend and lend revenue. Consumer services revenue rose 10% to $6.2 billion, commercial services revenue grew 7% to $3.5 billion and merchant and network services revenue increased 3% to $1.7 billion. The company said it added 11.5 million new proprietary cards in 2019, with nearly 70% of new card members choosing fee-based products. The stock has rallied 12.9% over the past three months through Thursday, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has gained 8.0% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced 8.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 24, 2020

Fiber products maker Domtar's shares slide after profit warning
Shares of Domtar Inc. slid 2.6% in premarket trade Friday, after the maker of fiber-based products warned that fourth-quarter results fell short of expectations. The Fort Mill, South Carolina-based company, which makes products used in packaging and absorbent hygiene products, said it now expects fourth-quarter sales of $1.2 billion, compared with a $1.3 billion FactSet consensus. It expects an operating loss of $15 million to $19 million, that includes closure and restructuring costs of about $19 million and depreciation and amortization costs of $74 million. "We increased market-related downtime to better balance our supply with our customer demand and to accelerate our inventory reduction plan," Chief Executive John D. Williams said in a statement. "Our inventories are now at optimal levels and our expectation is that our business will return to a balanced level in early 2020 given recent capacity closures." The company expects to post its fourth-quarter earnings on Feb. 7 before the market open. Shares have fallen 11.6% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 24, 2020

Air Products beats profit expectations but came up shy on sales, gives downbeat Q2 outlook
Air Products & Chemicals Inc. reported Friday a fiscal first-quarter profit that beat expectations, but revenue that missed and provided a downbeat outlook. The industrial gases company's stock was still inactive in premarket trading. Net income for the quarter to Dec. 31 rose to $475.6 million, or $2.14 a share, from $347.5 million, or $1.57 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share of $2.14 topped the FactSet consensus of $2.10. Sales grew 1.4% to $2.25 billion, below the FactSet consensus of $2.29 billion, as misses in industrial gas sales in the Americas and in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region offset a beat in Asia. Volume growth and higher pricing was partially offset by lower energy pass-through, unfavorable currency moves and a contract modification to a tolling agreement in India. Looking ahead, the company said it expects second-quarter adjusted EPS of $2.10 to $2.20, which is below the current FactSet consensus of $2.24, but reiterated the full-year guidance of $9.35 to $9.60, which surrounds expectations of $9.44. The stock has rallied 12.2% over the past three months through Thursday, while the S&P 500 has gained 10.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Broadcom: Deals with Apple could be worth $15 billion
Broadcom Inc. disclosed Thursday afternoon new deals with Apple Inc. worth $15 billion, and shares moved higher in extended trading. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the chip maker said that it had signed two multiyear statement of work agreements with the iPhone manufacturer for components that will be included in Apple products beginning this month. The two deals are in addition to an agreement to supply RF chips that Broadcom disclosed last summer. Broadcom said that the two new deals as well as the rest of the previously disclosed contract would lead to, in aggregate, $15 billion in revenue for the company. Broadcom shares gained about 2% in the after-hours trading session Thursday, while Apple supplier Skyworks Solutions Inc.'s shares declined despite a strong earnings report released Thursday afternoon.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

EHealth stock jumps 15% after company outlook tops expectations
EHealth Inc. shares rose more than 15% in the extended session Thursday after online health insurance marketplace said it expects better-than-forecast fourth-quarter results when it reports in February. EHealth said it expects a GAAP profit between $53 million and $55 million, and quarterly revenue between $257.5 million to $259.5 million. Analysts polled by FactSet expect GAAP earnings of $2 a share on sales of $192 million. EHealth saw "record consumer demand to the eHealth platform allowing us to grow fourth-quarter approved Medicare members in excess of 85%," Chief Executive Scott Flanders said in a statement. "We remain excited about the Medicare market opportunity and significant growth potential ahead of us and are looking forward to sharing our outlook for 2020 as part of our fourth quarter earnings release next month." Shares of EHealth ended the regular trading day down 2.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Weed REIT to raise $150 million, stock falls 4%
Cannabis real estate investment trust Innovative Industrial Properties Inc. said late Thursday that it plans to sell 2 million shares of its common stock. At Thursday's closing price of $79.44 that would amount to about $158.9 million. Innovative Industrial Properties fell 4% in the extended session Thursday. The company said it plans to use the cash to invest in further weed-related real estate assets and for general corporate purposes. The company's bankers have the option to buy another 300,000 shares and the company is selling all of the stock. Unlike many cannabis stocks, Innovative Industrial Properties shares have gained 40% in the past year, as the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF fell 40%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

E-Trade stock falls after mixed Q4 results for discount broker
E-Trade Financial Corp. late Thursday reported mixed fourth-quarter earnings, missing per-share expectations but beating revenue forecast, and the stock fell in the extended session. E-Trade said it earned $172 million, or 76 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $270 million, or $1.06 a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue fell to $679 million, from $735 million. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected the discount brokerage to report a profit of 81 cents a share on sales of $671 million. The company also declared a dividend of 14 cents, payable March 2 to shareholders of record on Feb. 25. E-trade "generated our best year ever for customer trading, growth in customer cash, and stock plan implementations," the company said in a statement. E-Trade and other brokerages late last year dropped commission fees on some trades.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Atlassian shares surge 9% on earnings, revenue beat
Atlassian Corp. shares popped 9% in after-hours trading Thursday after the software company reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings. Atlassian reported net income of $41.8 million, or 49 cents a share, compared with net income of $45.2 million, or 18 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue surged 37% to $408.7 million from $299 million a year ago. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected 27 cents a share on revenue of $389 million. Atlassian shares are up about 42% over the last 12 months. The S&P 500 index has gained about 26% the past year.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Nasdaq edges to record finish as stocks bounce back from earlier losses
Stocks came back from early losses to finish mostly higher on Thursday, with the Nasdaq Composite edging to a record close as investors appeared to shake off worries surrounding the coronavirus outbreak that originated in China after the World Health Organization said it was too early to consider the event a "global emergency." The Nasdaq ended the day up nearly 19 points, or 0.2%, to end near 9,402, according to preliminary figures, topping its previous record finish of 9,388.94 set on Jan. 17. The S&P 500 rose around 4 points, or 0.1%, to end near 3,326. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lagged behind the other major indexes, ending around 26 points lower near 29,160, a loss of 0.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

U.S. oil futures mark lowest settlement since late November
Oil futures fell sharply on Thursday, sending U.S. prices to their lowest settlement since late November, as the spread of coronavirus raised worries about the global economy and energy demand. "All markets are watching the situation with China" and the coronavirus, said Tariq Zahir, managing member at Tyche Capital Advisors. "Energy markets could see a rather [large] impact on demand, especially if this virus gets worse." March West Texas Intermediate oil fell $1.15, or 2%, to settle at $55.59 barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the lowest front-month contract finish since Nov. 29, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

HP calls Xerox board slate a proxy tactic to benefit Carl Icahn
HP Inc. said Thursday Xerox Corp. slate of board candidates is a "self-serving" tactic from billionaire investor Carl Icahn to push an acquisition that "significantly undervalues" the company. "We believe that Xerox's proposal and nominations are being driven by Carl Icahn, and his large ownership position in Xerox means that his interests are not aligned with those of other HP shareholders," HP said in a statement. "Due to Mr. Icahn's ownership position, he would disproportionately benefit from an acquisition of HP by Xerox at a price that undervalues HP." Icahn owns significant stakes in both HP and Xerox. Earlier Thursday, Xerox proposed a slate of 11 board members to replace HP's board. A proxy battle has been brewing ever since Xerox offered $33 billion for HP, which the company rebuffed.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

OCC seeks fines and bans against 5 ex-Wells Fargo executives, bans former CEO Stumpf for life
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a notice of charges against five former Wells Fargo & Co. executives on Thursday, for their role in a sales-practices scandal that led to the creation of millions of fake bank accounts. "The actions announced by the OCC today reinforce the agency's expectations that management and employees of national banks and federal savings associations provide fair access to financial services, treat customers fairly, and comply with applicable laws and regulations," Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting said in a statement. The agency is seeking to fine Carrie Tolstedt, former head of the bank's retail operations, $25 million in the form of a civil money penalty (CMP) and to issue her a lifetime prohibition order from participating in the banking industry. It is seeking to fine Claudia Russ Anderson, former community bank group risk officer, $5 million and issue her a prohibition order. It is seeking to fine James Strother, former general counsel, $5 million along with a personal cease & desist order (PC&D). A PC&D requires the individual to take remedial actions or refrain from certain conduct in future dealings in the banking industry. It is seeking to fine former Chief Auditor David Julian $2 million with a PC&D order, to fine former Executive Audit Director Paul McLinko $500,000 with a PC&D order. The agency said it has also issued a prohibition order and a $17.5 million CMP against former Chairman and CEO John Stumpf; a PC&D order and a $2.25 million CMP against the bank's former Chief Administrative Officer and Director of Corporate Human Resources Hope Hardison; and a PC&D order and assessment of a $1.25 million CMP against former Chief Risk Officer Michael Loughlin for their roles in the bank's sales practices misconduct. Wells Fargo responded by saying it will not make any further compensation payments to the individuals named, while it reviews the filings. Shares were slight

MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Gold futures finish at their highest in more than 2 weeks
Gold futures settled at a more than two-week high on Thursday, as worries surrounding the spread of the coronavirus led to weakness in the U.S. stock market and a fall in bond yields, lifting the haven appeal of the precious metal. "Appetite towards the precious metal should remain supported by growing fears over the coronavirus outbreak in China," said Lukman Otunuga, senior research analyst at FXTM. "The general uncertainty is likely to accelerate the flight to safety with gold seen testing $1568 in the short term," he said. February gold rose $8.70, or 0.6%, to settle at $1,565.40 an ounce. That was the highest most-active contract settlement since Jan. 7, according to FactSet data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

World Health Organization says coronavirus is a China emergency, but not a global health emergency for now
The World Health Organization said it will not declare the coronavirus outbreak in China to be a global health emergency on Thursday, after an emergency committee was divided about the scope of the illness. "Make no mistake. This is an emergency in China, but it has not yet become a global emergency," Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the agency, said in a statement published on Twitter. There are now 584 cases of the illness, a respiratory disease that has been compared to SARS and MERS, including 17 deaths, said the statement. Of those cases, 575 were reported in China, with other cases found in Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, the U.S. and Vietnam. "We are aware of media reports of suspected cases in other countries, but those cases are still being investigated," he said. Most of the deaths were of patients with underlying health issues such as hypertension, diabetes or cardiovascular disease that weakened their immune systems, he said. The disease is being transmitted from human to human but appears limited to people in close contact like family groups. "There is still a lot we don't know. We don't know the source of this virus, we don't understand how easily it spreads & we don't fully understand its clinical features or severity," said the statement.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Netflix stock surges 5% after Comcast posts big video-subscriber losses
Shares of Netflix Inc. are up more than 5% in midday trading Thursday, and Stifel analyst Scott Devitt said the latest results from Comcast Corp. should be a hopeful signal for the streaming giant. "Comparing Netflix to introductory pricing and/or inferior over-the-top products as a justification for worrying about the competitive climate is missing the fact that the cable, telecom, and satellite video industry (where all the money is) is shrinking with no end in sight," wrote Devitt, who rates Netflix a buy with a $390 target price. Comcast on Thursday reported a net loss of 133,000 residential video subscribers, whereas it had only lost 19,000 in the year-earlier quarter. Comcast's stock is down 3.6% in Thursday trading, while the S&P 500 is off 0.3%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

IMAX supports decision to postpone Chinese New Year film slate in China after coronavirus outbreak
IMAX Corp. said Thursday it supports the decision to postpone the Chinese New Year film slate in China because of the outbreak of a new coronavirus in the city of Wuhan that has sickened more than 500 people and killed 17. "The safety of Chinese audiences is our top priority," the operator of big screen cinemas said in a statement. "IMAX supports the decision to postpone the release of the Chinese New Year film slate and believes it to be the best course of action in an unfortunate situation." The news comes as Wuhan remains in a state of lockdown as the Chinese authorities work to contain the virus, which has been compared to SARS and MERS, two other coronaviruses. Cases of the illness have been confirmed in the U.S., Japan, Thailand and Singapore and the World Health Organization is holding a meeting to decide whether to declare a global health emergency. The virus is understood to be passed from human to human. The outbreak has come on the cusp of Chinese New Year, when millions of Chinese people travel around the country to be with family. IMAX shares were down 3.6% and have fallen 10% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Hilton Grand Vacations eliminates straws from all its properties
Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. announced Thursday that it has removed single-use plastic straws from all 34 of its properties. Plastic straws are one of the top items found during beach cleanups, the company said. Hilton Grand Vacations has partnered with Clean the World to expand its recycling efforts, part of environmental commitment. Hilton Grand Vacations stock has gained 17.2% over the past year while the S&P 500 index is up 25.4% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Oil prices pare losses as EIA reports a modest, unexpected weekly fall in U.S. crude-oil supplies
Oil prices pared some of their earlier losses on Thursday after weekly data from the Energy Information Administration revealed that U.S. crude supplies fell by 400,000 barrels for the week ended Jan. 17. Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts forecast a rise of 500,000 barrels, while the American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday reported an increase of 1.6 million barrels, according to sources. EIA and API data were each released a day later than usual because of Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The EIA data also showed a supply climb of 1.7 million barrels for gasoline, but distillate stocks declined by 1.2 million barrels. The S&P Global Platts survey had shown expectations for an increase in supplies of 3.3 million barrels for gasoline and 1.6 million barrels for distillates. March West Texas Intermediate crude was down $1.48, or 2.6%, at 55.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was trading at $54.93 before the supply data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

UPDATE: Vaccine stocks rise sharply as coronavirus fears mounts
Shares of vaccine makers rose sharply again on Thursday, amid rising concerns about the outbreak of a new coronavirus in Wuhan, China that has led the authorities to quarantine the city of 11 million. Novavax Inx. , which developed a vaccine for MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) in 2013, gained 9% in early trade, while Moderna Inc. was up 2%. The company said it will work with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to develop a vaccine to treat the new illness. Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. shares rose 9%, after that company said the CEPI has given it a grant of up to $9 million to develop a vaccine against the virus. NanoViricides , which rallied on the first reports of the news before falling back after it issued 2.5 million shares, soared 45%. The virus was first identified in December in Wuhan City, China. It has since sickened more than 599 people, including a U.S. resident who had traveled to Wuhan this month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. China has reported 17 deaths. Health officials now believe the virus is spread human to human. The SPDR S&P Biotech ETF has gained 18% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

BJ's Wholesale downgraded as merchandise cuts put same-store sales at risk
BJ's Wholesale Club Holdings Inc. was downgraded to neutral from buy at Bank of America on concern that the retailer's effort to streamline merchandise by cutting the number of items in some categories could disrupt same-store sales. Bank of America cut its price objective to $25 from $30. BJ's stock is down nearly 1% in Thursday trading. "While assortment optimization can support margin improvements, we believe it can also create near-term disruption by eliminating/displacing traffic-driving items," the note said. Any impact could take as much as six months to show itself, another risk. Analysts are also worried that a declining population and slower economic growth in the Northeast, where BJ's has 61% of its store base, could be a challenge. BJ's stock has slumped 12% over the past year while the S&P 500 index is up 25.5% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

EIA reports a weekly decline of 92 billion cubic feet in U.S. natural-gas supplies
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Thursday that domestic supplies of natural gas fell by 92 billion cubic feet for the week ended Jan. 17. That was slightly larger than the decline of 88 billion cubic feet forecast by analysts polled by S&P Global Platts, but well below the year ago and five-year average draw for the period. Total stocks now stand at 2.947 trillion cubic feet, up 554 billion cubic feet from a year ago, and 251 billion cubic feet above the five-year average, the government said. February natural gas traded at $1.939 per million British thermal units, up 3.4 cents, or 1.8%, from Wednesday's settlement. Prices were down a bit from $1.97 before the data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Grubhub launches Ultimate technology that adds digital pickup and other perks
Grubhub Inc. announced Thursday that it has launched technology called Ultimate that brings the meal ordering system to one comprehensive channel. The new system will give restaurants of every size digital pickup capability, give order status updates, and more. Grubhub also sees opportunity at stadiums and other event venues where long lines for food and drink are common. Order pickup is a $250 billion U.S. business, according to data provided by Grubhub. The Ultimate technology rollout starts in New York City and Chicago at 100 locations. Late last year, Grubhub announced that it would focus the coming months on efforts to create customer loyalty and build business with small- and medium-sized companies. Grubhub stock is up 2.1% in Thursday trading, but down 22.7% over the last year. The S&P 500 index is up 25.7% for the past 12 months.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

'Doomsday Clock' minute hand moves 20 seconds closer to midnight
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced early Thursday that the minute hand on its so-called Doomsday Clock has moved closer to midnight by a third of a minute. "It is [now] 100 seconds to midnight," said Rachel Bronson, the CEO of the Chicago-based group, whose stated mission is to equip the public, policy makers and scientists with the information needed to reduce man-made threats to human existence. Humanity, according to the Bulletin, is facing two existential threats -- in climate change and nuclear war -- with cyberwarfare acting as a threat multiplier. A year ago, the group opted to leave the minute hand at two minutes to midnight, on the heels of a 30-second move toward midnight in January 2018.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Air Products raises quarterly dividend to $1.34 per share vs. $1.16
Industrial gas producer Air Products & Chemicals Inc. said Thursday it is raising its quarterly dividend by 18 cents to $1.34 a share from $1.16. The company said the increase is the biggest in the company's history. The new dividend will be payable May 11 to shareholders of record as of April 1. Shares fell 1.1% Thursday, but have gained 51% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Dollar Tree downgraded at Bank of America on margin pressure concern at Family Dollar
Dollar Tree Inc. was downgraded to neutral from buy at Bank of America on concerns that the discount retailer's merchandising and leadership changes could drive additional margin pressure at the Family Dollar banner in 2020. Bank of America lowered its price objective to $95 from $105. Dollar Tree stock was down nearly 1% in Thursday trading. Analysts led by Robert Ohmes think Family Dollar store remodels will have a traffic benefit, but it will be offset by the gross margin impact. "We think expanded consumables could crowd out purchases of higher-margin discretionary items given the tight budgets of Family Dollar's core customers," Bank of America said. "These pressures, along with shrink and freight headwinds, are likely to result in margin contraction at Family Dollar for much of 2020, in our view." Moreover, now that Dollar Tree leadership is also taking on the merchandising at Family Dollar, analysts are concerned that the "greater complexity" of heading up two banners with different customer demographics could be a challenge. Dollar Tree stock is down 5.7% over the last year while the S&P 500 index is up 25.5% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Dow loses grip on 29,000 at open as coronavirus spreads in Asia
U.S. stocks opened lower on Thursday as investors watched China's efforts to contain the coronavirus's rapid spread in Asia. The S&P 500 was down 0.2% to 3,316. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 117 points ,or 0.4%, to 29,069. The Nasdaq Composite edged 0.1% lower to 9,372. So far, Chinese officials have announced that three cities including Wuhan have been locked down, preventing residents from leaving. On monetary policy, the European Central bank announced it would keep interest rates unchanged, but ECB President Christine Lagarde said downside risks to the outlook were less pronounced than before. In company news, shares of P&G were down after the consumer-products company reported a fiscal second-quarter profit above analyst expectations. Shares of Dow-component Traveler's also fell after its earnings and revenues topped Wall Street estimates.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

UPDATE: Singapore and Vietnam report cases of coronavirus that has quarantined Wuhan, China
Singapore has confirmed a first case of the coronavirus that has led to the quarantine of the Chinese city of Wuhan, Channel News Asia reported on Thursday. That news was followed by confirmation from officials in Vietnam, that two Chinese nationals are being treated in hospital, as AFP reported. The outbreak has sickened more than 500 people in China and 17 patients have died from the illness, according to official reports. Wuhan, the site of the first reports of the illness believed to have started at a seafood market, is on lockdown to prevent it from spreading further. The illness can cause pneumonia and other respiratory issues and has been compared to SARS and MERS, two other coronaviruses. The World Health Organization is scheduled to meet again on Thursday after ending a meeting Wednesday without deciding whether to declare the illness a global health emergency.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Serena Williams teams up with Amazon for sports and nutrition store
Tennis icon Serena Williams tweeted an introduction to the Serena Williams Store, an Amazon.com Inc. e-commerce platform for fitness items like a treadmill and stationary bike as well as Williams' picks for tennis equipment and nutrition items. Amazon has a number of celebrity stores including one for actor Chris Pratt that includes workout gear, and another for actress Gabrielle Union that includes beauty and book picks. Williams is currently competing at the Australian Open. Amazon stock has gained 15% over the past year while the S&P 500 index is up nearly 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Micron, Western Digital stocks climb after Morgan Stanley turns bullish
Shares of Micron Technology Inc. and Western Digital Corp. are up about 2% each in premarket trading Thursday after Morgan Stanley analyst Joseph Moore upgraded both stocks to overweight from equal weight. "We did not expect memory fundamentals to bottom this quickly, but as proof points grow, the ramifications are significant," Moore wrote. "The higher trough and the elevated valuation environment for semis suggests memory rerating potential even give the moves we have already seen." Micron's stock has added 32% over the past three months, and Western Digital's has gained 19% as the S&P 500 has risen 11%. Moore's channel checks point to "real conviction" from customers that the memory market will get tighter throughout this calendar year, which is causing them to put more inventory in place. Moore upped his price target on Micron's stock to $73 from $56, and he increased his Western Digital target to $88 from $64.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

MarineMax's stock soars after yacht seller beats earnings expectations by a wide margin
Shares of MarineMax Inc. powered up 27% toward a 13-month high in premarket trading Thursday, after the yacht and recreational boat seller reported fiscal first-quarter results that were well above expectations and raised its full-year outlook. Net income for the quarter to Dec. 31 rose to $9.06 million, or 41 cents a share, from $4.9 million, or 21 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was 7 cents. Revenue increased 26% to $304.2 million, above the FactSet consensus of $260.3 million. For fiscal 2020, the company raised is EPS guidance range to $1.82 to $1.92 from $1.58 to $1.68. "With the largest two selling seasons ahead of us, we expect to build on the strong start to our fiscal year and leverage the excitement in the industry with a robust slate of upcoming boat shows," said Chief Executive Brett McGill. The stock has edged up 1.7% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 10.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Singapore confirms first case of coronavirus that has led to quarantine of Wuhan, China: Report
Singapore has confirmed a first case of the coronavirus that has led to the quarantine of the Chinese city of Wuhan, Channel News Asia reported on Thursday. The outbreak has sickened more than 500 people in China and 17 patients have died from the illness, according to official reports. Wuhan, the site of the first reports of the illness believed to have started at a seafood market, is on lockdown to prevent it from spreading further. The illness can cause pneumonia and other respiratory issues and has been compared to SARS and MERS, two other coronaviruses. The World Health Organization is scheduled to meet again on Thursday after ending a meeting Wednesday without deciding whether to declare the illness a global health emergency.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Cresco Labs gets $100 million in senior secured term loan
Cresco Labs Inc. said Thursday it has entered a senior secured term loan agreement for an initial sum of $100 million with an option to borrow up to $200 million. The Chicago-based cannabis company expects to complete an initial drawdown by Jan. 30 and will use the funds to expand operations in Illinois, where cannabis became legal for adult use this year. Cannabis companies have been struggling to access capital in recent months after a steep selloff in the sector last year and many have been forced into dilutive financings or have resorted to sale-and-leaseback arrangements using their own real estate. "Through this deal, we have diversified the Company's funding sources, improved our cost of capital in a non-dilutive manner and given ourselves flexibility in a dynamic capital environment," Chief Executive Charlie Bachtell said in a statement. Loans made on the initial closing date will bear interest at a rate of about 12.7% per year for 18-month loans and about 13.2% for 24-month loans, payable quarterly in arrears, said the statement. Cresco's U.S.-listed shares were not yet active premarket, but have fallen 2.9% in the last 12 months, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF has fallen 40% and the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Freeport-McMoRan tops earnings estimates for Q4
Freeport-McMoRan Inc. said Thursday it had net income of $9 million, or less than 1 cent a share, in the fourth quarter, down from $485 million, or 33 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings came to 2 cents, ahead of the FactSet consensus for breakeven. The copper and gold miner said revenue rose to $3.911 billion from $3.684 billion, well ahead of the $3.698 billion FactSet consensus. Sales of copper totaled 906 million pounds, sales of gold came to 317 thousand ounces and sales of molybdenum came to 22 million pounds in the quarter. For 2020, the company is expecting sales of about 3.5 billion pounds of copper, 0.8 million ounces of gold and 88 million pounds of molybdenum, including 725 million pounds of copper, 105 thousand ounces of gold and 22 million pounds of molybdenum in the first quarter. Capital expenditures are expected to come to $2.8 billion in 2020 after $2.65 billion in 2019, and will fund underground development rose 0.5% premarket but are up just 0.1% in the last 12 months through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Co-Diagnostics stock nearly triples after completion of design work for coronavirus screener
Shares of Co-Diagnostics Inc. nearly tripled (up 177%) on heavy volume in premarket trading Thursday, after the molecular diagnostics company said it had completed principle design work for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) screening test for new coronavirus. Trading volume soared to 1.9 million shares, enough to make the stock the most actively traded before the open, and already more than 10-times the full-day average of about 161,000 shares. The company said its new test features its CoPrimer technology. "One of the most important advantages of our CoPrimer platform is its ability to reliably and accurately differentiate between similar genetic sequences, in order to reduce the likelihood of a false positive diagnosis," said Chief Executive Dwight Egan. "We believe that if the [World Health Organization] takes the step of declaring the illness a global health emergency following collection of more data in the days and weeks to come, Co-Diagnostics will be well positioned to quickly assist in providing these state of the art tools to affected countries." The stock has gained 9.7% over the past 12 months through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has advanced 25.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

ECB makes no monetary policy changes, launches review of monetary policy strategy
The European Central Bank, as expected, left interest rates unchanged on Thursday and maintained its commitment to purchasing 20 billion euros ($22.8 billion) a month in bonds. The ECB's deposit rate stands at -0.5%, while its main refinancing operations rate holds at 0%. In a statement, the ECB repeated that its Governing Council expects rates to remain at present or lower levels until there are solid signs stubbornly low inflation is on track to converge with the bank's target of near, but below, 2%. The ECB also reiterated it expects asset purchases to run for as long as needed to underline the accommodative impact of its policy rates, ending them shortly before it starts to raise interest rates. Also as expected, the ECB announced the launch of a review of its monetary policy strategy. ECB President Christine Lagarde is scheduled to hold a news conference at the bank's Frankfurt headquarters at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Kimberly-Clark earnings beat expectations, raises 2020 dividend
Kimberly-Clark Corp. stock inched up 0.8% in Thursday premarket trading after the consumer products company reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat expectations and raised its 2020 dividend. Kimberly-Clark brands include Kleenex tissues, Huggies diapers, and Cottonelle bathroom products. Net income for the quarter totaled $547 million, or $1.59 per share, up from $411 million, or $1.18 per share, last year. Adjusted EPS was $1.71, ahead of the $1.70 FactSet consensus. Sales of $4.58 billion was up from $4.57 billion last year and beat the $4.54 FactSet outlook. For 2020, Kimberly-Clark expects a net sales increase of 1% and adjusted EPS of $7.10 to $7.35. FactSet forecasts sales of $18.58 billion, up from $18.45 billion in 2019, implying a 0.7% increase, and EPS of $7.26. For 2020, Kimberly-Clark raised its dividend by 3.9% to $1.07 per share. The first dividend will be payable on April 2, 2020 to shareholders of record as of March 6, 2020. Kimberly-Clark stock has rallied 28.8% over the last year, outpacing the S&P 500 index , which is up 25.9% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

American Airlines tops profit and revenue expectations, but stock falls
Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. fell 0.9% in premarket trading Thursday, after the air carrier beat fourth-quarter profit and load factor expectations but matched on revenue, and said it expects flat pre-tax margins for 2020. Net income rose to $414 million, or 95 cents a share, from $325 million, or 70 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share rose to $1.15 from 97 cents, above the FactSet consensus of $1.14. Revenue rose 3.4% to $11.31 billion, in line with the FactSet consensus of $11.31 billion, as a 3.9% increase in passenger revenue helped offset an 18.3% drop in cargo revenue. Load factor rose to 84.7% from 82.1%, above expectations of 82.8%. The company said it cancelled about 10,000 flights during the quarter as a result of Boeing Co.-built 737 MAX planes being grounded. The company said it expects 2020 pre-tax margin, excluding net special items, to be "approximately flat year over year," compared with 2019's 6.3%. The stock has slipped 3.4% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the NYSE Arca Airlines Index has gained 5.0% and the S&P 500 has climbed 10.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

JetBlue shares shine premarket after earnings beat
JetBlue Airways Corp. shares rose 1.5% in premarket trade Thursday, after the airline topped earnings estimates for the fourth quarter. The New York-based carrier said it had net income of $161 million, or 56 cents a share, in the quarter, down from $170 million, or 55 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings also came to 56 cents, ahead of the 55 cents FactSet consensus. Revenue rose to $2.031 billion from $1.968 billion, topping the $2.029 billion FactSet consensus. Revenue per available seat mile, or RASM, fell 2.7%, while operating expenses per available seat mile, excluding fuel (CASM ex-fuel) was flat. The company said its now expecting first-quarter EPS to range from 10 cents to 20 cents for for full-year EPS to range from $2.50 to $3.00. The current FactSet consensus is for first-quarter EPS of 19 cents and full-year EPS of $2.38. Capacity is expected to increase 1.5% to 3.5% in the first quarter and to increase 5.5% to 7.5% for the full year. Shares have gained 15% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Vans parent VF Corp. shares slide premarket after sales fall short of estimates
Vans parent VF Corp. shares fell 1.7% in premarket trade Thursday, after the company posted weaker-than-expected sales for the third quarter. The company said it had net income of $465.0 million, or $1.16 a share, in the quarter, after income of $463.5 million, or $1.16 a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings came to $1.23, ahead of the $1.21 FactSet consensus. Revenue rose to $3.385 billion from $3.228 billion, just below the FactSet consensus of $3.433 billion. The company, which also owns the Timberland brand, completed the spinoff of its jeans business in May, including Wrangler, Lee and Rock & Republic brands, as well as the VF Outlet business, which was spun off into a separate traded company under the name Kontoor Brands Inc. On Tuesday, the company said it is reviewing strategic options for some of its work brands, which make uniforms and work clothing for American workers. It now expects fiscal 2020 revenue from continuing operations of about $11.75 billion and adjusted EPS of $3.30. The FactSet consensus is for EPS of $3.37 and revenue of $11.85 billion. Shares have gained 21% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

PayPal stock gains after company announces partnership with China's UnionPay
Shares of PayPal Holdings Inc. are up 2.1% in premarket trading Thursday after the company announced a partnership with China's UnionPay International. Through the arrangement, which was announced in a late Wednesday release, more than 120 million UnionPay cardholders in China will be able to create new PayPal accounts and use the wallet for cross-border commerce. "While we have always maintained a muted enthusiasm for domestic payments opportunity in China because of formidable competition...we view this partnership (which is primarily cross-border in nature) as very synergistic for both PayPal and UnionPay- if executed well," wrote Bernstein's Harshita Rawat, who rates PayPal's stock at outperform with a $130 target price. Keefe, Bruyette, and Woods analyst Sanjay Sakhrani wrote that the arrangement is "a nice win which leverages the recent GoPay acquisition that gave PayPal access to payment licenses in China." He has an outperform rating and $146 target price on PayPal shares, which are up 20% over the past three months as the S&P 500 has added 11%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

P&G's stock falls as profit beats but revenue comes up short
Shares of Procter & Gamble shed 2.5% in premarket trading Thursday, after the consumer products company reported a fiscal second-quarter profit that beat expectations but revenue that rose less than forecast. Net income increased to $3.72 billion, or $1.41 a share, from $3.19 billion, or $1.22 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, core earnings per share came to $1.42, above the FactSet consensus of $1.37. Sales increased 5% to $18.24 billion, below the FactSet consensus of $18.42 billion. Beauty sales increased 7%, grooming sales rose 2%, health care sales increased 14%, fabric and home care sales rose 4% and baby, feminine and family care sales rose 4%. For fiscal 2020, the company raised its sales growth guidance range to 4% to 5% from 3% to 5% and lifted its core EPS growth outlook to 8% to 11% from 5% to 10%. The stock has gained 2.1% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the SPDR Consumer Staples Select Sector ETF has climbed 4.7% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced 8.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Travelers stock drops after profit and revenue beat, net premiums written comes up shy
Shares of Travelers Companies Inc. slumped 2.0% ion premarket trading Thursday, after the insurer reported profit and revenue that topped expectations but net premiums written that came up a bit shy. Net income rose to $873 million, or $3.35 a share, from $621 million, or $2.32 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, "core" earnings per share increased to $3.35 from $2.13, above the FactSet consensus of $3.29, amid "significantly lower" catastrophe losses. Revenue rose 3% to $8.06 billion, topping the FactSet consensus of $8.03 billion, while net written premiums grew 6% to $7.08 billion but were below expectations of $7.10 billion. The stock has gained 7.0% over the past three months while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has tacked on 8.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Comcast stock gains after earnings top estimates
Shares of Comcast Corp are up 1% in premarket trading Thursday after the media giant topped revenue and earnings estimates for the fourth quarter. The company reported net income of $3.16 billion, or 68 cents a share, up from $2.51 billion, or 55 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted earnings climbed to 79 cents from 72 cents, coming in ahead of the 77 cents that analysts surveyed by FactSet had been predicting. Comcast's revenue increased to $28.4 billion from $27.8 billion, and the company topped the FactSet consensus of $28.2 billion. The company generated $14.8 billion in cable-communications revenue for the quarter, up 2.6% on a year-over-year basis. NBC Universal revenue fell 2.6% to $9.1 billion, while Sky revenue grew 1.4% in constant currency to $5.0 billion. The stock has increased 3.8% over the past three months as the S&P 500 has risen 11%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Southwest Airlines' stock falls after profit miss, while revenue rises slightly above expectations
Shares of Southwest Airlines Co. sank 1.8% in premarket trading Thursday after the air carrier reported a fourth-quarter profit and load factor that missed expectations, while revenue rose a little above forecasts. Net income fell to $514 million, or 98 cents a share, from $654 million, or $1.17 a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was $1.09. Chief Executive Gary Kelly said operational performance in 2019 was reduced by an estimated $828 million due to the grounding of Boeing Co.'s 737 MAX planes. Revenue rose 0.4% to $5.73 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $5.72 billion. Load factor declined to 83.1% from 83.5%, while the FactSet consensus was for rise to 83.9%. Costs for available seat mile (CASM) rose 4.6%, and is expected to increase 6.0% to 8.0% for the first quarter. The stock rose 0.5% has over the past three months through Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Transportation Average has gained 2.5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced 8.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

Two more Chinese cities quarantined over coronavirus: WSJ
Authorities in China have locked down more cities as they try to come to grips with the coronavirus outbreak that has now spread beyond the country's borders. After Wuhan, believed to be the epicenter of the outbreak, was quarantined with travel in and out of its borders banned, Huanggang has cut off buses and long-distance trains and will close its public transportation system as of midnight on Friday, local time, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The city of 7.5 million people is 35 miles east of Wuhan. Neighboring Ezhou said it would impose similar restrictions. To date, the virus has killed 17 people and infected hundreds and is hampering travel in the country as the Lunar New Year holiday begins this weekend. The U.S., Japan, South Korea and Thailand have all reported cases of coronavirus.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 23, 2020

UBS lifts Tesla price target to $410 from $160 -- and keeps sell rating
UBS has lifted its price target on electric vehicle maker Tesla to $410 from $160 -- and kept a sell rating. UBS said it has a bullish outlook on Tesla, estimating 800,000 cars sold and a 10% operating margin in 2022, but the shares are priced for 1.4 million cars sold in 2025 at an 11% margin. "This is a stretch because it requires perfect execution, strong EV demand growth and at the same time failure of the incumbent OEMs to launch competitive EVs," said the UBS team led by Patrick Hummel. Tesla closed Wednesday at $569.56.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Teradyne stock rallies on earnings, outlook beat
Teradyne Inc. shares rallied in the extended session Wednesday after the electronic testing equipment maker's results and outlook topped Wall Street estimates. Teradyne shares rallied 9.5% after hours, following a 2.9% rise in the regular session to close at $73.59. The company reported fourth-quarter net income of $136.8 million, or 75 cents a share, compared with $143.8 million, or 79 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings were 88 cents a share, compared with 63 cents a share in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose to $654.7 million from $519.6 million in the year-ago quarter. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast earnings of 79 cents on revenue of $611.7 million. Teradyne expects first-quarter adjusted earnings of 86 cents to 96 cents a share on revenue of $670 million to $710 million, while analysts had forecast earnings of 64 cents a share on revenue of $560.4 million. The company also said its board hiked the March 20-payable quarterly dividend 11% to 10 cents a share and approved a buyback of up to $1 billion in shares, of which a minimum of $250 million will be bought back in 2020.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Paycom set to join S&P 500
Paycom Software Inc. is set to join the S&P 500 index , S&P Dow Jones Indices said late Wednesday. Paycom is replacing Wellcare Health Plans after its acquisition by Centene Corp. [s:cnc]. Paycom shares rose 4.9% in the extended session.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Ford to record pension-related $2.2 billion charge
Ford Motor Co. said late Wednesday it expects to take a fourth-quarter pre-tax charge of $2.2 billion related to pension obligations that will cut down on its net income. After taxes, the $2.2 billion loss is expected to slash Ford's net income by about $1.7 billion, Ford said in a filing. As it is a special item, the loss will not impact adjusted profit or adjusted per-share profit, the car maker said. It also did not have an impact on the company's cash in 2019, and does not change its expectations for pension contributions this year, Ford said.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

API data reveal a weekly climb in U.S. crude supply, sources say
The American Petroleum Institute reported late Wednesday that U.S. crude supplies rose by 1.6 million barrels for the week ended Jan. 17, according to sources. The API data, which were released a day later than usual because of Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, also reportedly showed a stockpile increase of 4.5 million barrels for gasoline, while distillate stocks climbed by 3.5 million barrels. Inventory data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Thursday. The EIA data are expected to show crude inventories rose by 500,000 barrels last week, according to analysts polled by S&P Global Platts. They also forecast supply increases of 3.3 million barrels for gasoline and 1.6 million barrels for distillates. March West Texas Intermediate crude was at $56.37 a barrel in electronic trading. It settled at $56.74 Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

MetLife names new chief auditor
MetLife Inc. said late Wednesday that Toby Srihiran Brown will become its executive vice president and chief auditor effective March 1. Brown, currently the chief operating officer of MetLife Japan, will have "a direct and independent reporting relationship" with the board of directors' audit committee and report Chief Executive Officer Michel Khalaf. "As chief auditor, Brown will lead the team responsible for providing assurance over MetLife's risk management, control and governance processes across MetLife's global business operations," the company said in a statement. Brown succeeds Karl Erhardt, who will "continue to oversee a data management initiative that focuses on improving the quality and consistency of data capture to reduce risk and foster innovation," MetLife said. Shares of MetLife were flat in the extended session after ending the regular trading day up 0.3%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Citrix shares rise on big earnings beat
Citrix Systems Inc. shares rose 4% in after-hours trading Wednesday after the software company reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. Citrix reported net income of $207 million, or $1.56 share, compared with net income of $166 million, or $1.15 a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue grew 1% to $810 million from $802 million a year ago. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected $1.07 a share on revenue of $803 million. Citrix shares are up about 10% over the last 12 months. The S&P 500 index has gained about 26% the last year.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Stocks end mixed after touching intraday records
U.S. stocks closed virtually unchanged Wednesday, giving up strong early gains even as investors weighed reports about the Chinese flu outbreak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed about 9 points, less than 0.1%, higher, at about 29,187, while the S&P 500 was up a point, less than 0.1%, at about 3,322. The Nasdaq closed up 13 points, or 0.1%, at about 9,384. The Dow was dragged down by shares of Boeing which on Tuesday confirmed the 737 Max would not return to service until mid-year. Netflix, Inc. was one of tech's biggest losers, slumping nearly 4% after reporting quarterly earnings Tuesday.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Coronavirus not yet declared a public health emergency
Officials at the World Health Organization said the emergency committee is split on whether to declare the new coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. The committee, which met Wednesday, will meet again on Thursday "given the rapidly evolving situation." The new virus was first identified in December in Wuhan City, China. Media outlets, citing Chinese health authorities, have reported that 17 people have died, and 500 people have been infected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that a U.S. resident returning from Wuhan City who has been diagnosed with the virus is being treated in Washington state. Health officials now believe that the virus is spread human to human.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Oil futures mark lowest settlement since early December
Oil futures ended lower on Wednesday, pressured by demand concerns linked to the coronavirus outbreak in China, as well as expectations for a weekly rise in U.S. crude inventories. Weekly data on U.S. petroleum supplies will be released by the American Petroleum Institute later Wednesday, with government figures from the Energy Information Administration due out early Thursday. The data are each delayed by a day this week because of Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts expect the EIA Thursday to report an increase of 500,000 barrel in U.S. crude inventories for the week ended Jan. 17. Ahead of the supply data, March West Texas Intermediate oil fell $1.64, or 2.8%, to settle at $56.74 barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the lowest front-month contract finish since Dec. 3, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Spin Master stock sinks after downward guidance revision
Spin Master Corp. stock fell 4.2% in Wednesday trading after the toy maker said it now expects a 1% decline in 2019 gross product sales. Previously, the company was guiding for an increase in the low-single digit range. The company said the downward revision is due to weak toy sales in the U.S. during the shortened holiday shopping season. "Furthermore, we did not execute as we have in previous years, at the level we needed to in order to meet our profitability targets," said Ronnen Harary, Spin Master's co-chief executive officer in a statement. Specifically, Harary said on a call about the announcement that the company chose the wrong time to launch a new east coast distribution center. "[W]e should not have undertaken a project of this nature at this point in time just as we entered our seasonal shipping peak," Harary said on the call, according to a FactSet transcript. "Our supply chain has become more complex, the macro environment has become more complex, and our desire to drive efficiencies and cost savings in the midst of this was aggressive and potentially misguided." Spin Master brands include Paw Patrol and Hatchimals. Spin Master stock has tumbled 21.8% over the last year while the S&P 500 index is up 26.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

United Airlines stock falls as 737 MAX and coronavirus uncertainties offset earnings beat
Shares of United Airlines Holdings Inc. dropped 2.0% in afternoon trading Wednesday, to buck the gains in the airline sector, as uncertainty over the impact of the groundings of Boeing Co.'s 737 MAX planes and the coronavirus outbreak offset a fourth-quarter profit beat and upbeat guidance. United reported late-Tuesday adjusted earnings per share that was above the FactSet consensus while revenue was in line with expectations. In the post-earnings conference call with analysts early Wednesday, first-quarter adjusted EPS of 75 cents to $1.25, compared with the FactSet consensus as of Dec. 31 of 75 cents. President Scott Kirby said on the post-earnings call that a couple of challenges regarding the financial outlook had cropped up in the last 48 hours. "We also can't sit here and tell you that we know exactly how long the MAX will be grounded or what the economic impact of the Asian coronavirus would be," Kirby said, according to a FactSet transcript. "At this point, we're assessing the impact of the schedule, but we do not anticipate flying the MAX this summer." Boeing had said Tuesday that it didn't expect the MAX to return until mid-2020. United's stock has shed 6.3% over the past three months, while the NYSE Arca Airline Index has gained 5.0% and the S&P 500 has advanced 11.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Ayesha Curry partners with Meredith for new quarterly magazine
Meredith Corp. said Wednesday that it has partnered with entrepreneur, TV personality and author Ayesha Curry on a quarterly magazine that will launch May 2020. The cover price will be $9.99 with a 400,000 initial print run for newsstands. The title of the magazine will be announced in the coming months. Meredith titles include "People," "RealSimple" and "Food & Wine." Ayesha Curry is married to superstar NBA player Steph Curry. Meredith stock has sunk 43.2% over the past year while the S&P 500 index has gained 26.6% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

GE's stock sinks to extend losing streak as Boeing's 737 MAX issues poses a risk ahead of earnings
Shares of General Electric Co. sank 1.2% in morning trading, putting them on track for a sixth straight loss, and 10th loss in 11 days, amid concerns over the fallout from Boeing Co. pushing out expectations for the return of its 737 MAX planes. Analyst Andrew Obin said Boeing's announcement on Tuesday "increases the likelihood" that the 737 MAX production pause is extended through the first half of 2020, which would impact GE since GE makes the 737 MAX's engines. Obin reiterated his neutral rating on GE's stock and his $12 price target. "In our 4Q19 GE preview, we highlighted 737 MAX issues as a potential risk for GE in 2020," Obin wrote in a note to clients. Both Boeing and GE are slated to report results on Jan. 29, before the opening bell. The stock has run up 27.2% over the past three months, but has lost 4.9% during its six-day losing streak, while Boeing shares have shed 9.0% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 9.0%. A 6-day losing streak for GE's stock would be the longest since the 7-day stretch of losses ended on Dec. 5.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Microsoft's stock price target raised by 18% at Raymond James a week ahead of earnings
Shares of Microsoft Corp. rose 0.2% in morning trading, after Raymond James analyst Micheal Turits raised his price target by 18%, as his research suggests the software giant had a strong quarter, led by software upgrades and growth in its cloud business. Turits reiterated his strong buy rating and lifted his target on the stock to $192, which is 15% above current levels, from $163. That makes Turits the second-most bullish on Microsoft of the 35 analysts surveyed by FactSet. "Our Microsoft checks were strong this quarter with the biggest improvement from resellers that were seeing an uptick in Office 365 E3 to E5 conversions, on increased interest in collaboration and integration of Microsoft Teams and from security including EMS, Azure Active Directory and Azure Sentinel," Turits wrote in a note to clients. "We believe channels are on plan if not hitting stretched or aggressive growth targets with Azure, with some constraint around talent needed for cloud migrations." Microsoft is scheduled to report fourth-quarter results after the Jan. 29 close. The stock has run up 22.3% over the past three months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 9.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Genprex's stock rallies on FDA fast-track designation
Shares of Genprex Inc. climbed 53% in morning trading on Wednesday after the company said the Food and Drug Administration had granted its experimental cancer treatment a fast-track designation. Genprex is testing the therapy in combination with AstraZeneca's Tagrisso for certain non-small cell lung cancer patients. AstraZeneca said in October that Tagrisso brought in $2.3 billion in sales year-to-date, an 82% jump compared to the year prior. Its stock was up 0.7% on Wednesday. Genprex plans to start a Phase I/II clinical trial for the investigational combination treatment. Genprex's stock is up 12% over the past year, while the S&P 500 has gained 24%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Fairway Market says it has no plans to liquidate
Fairway Market issued a statement via its Twitter account saying it's not filing for bankruptcy. "Despite reports, Fairway Market has no intention to file for chapter 7 or liquidate all of its stores," the iconic New York City grocer wrote. "All 14 stores remain open for business, offering a complete range of high quality, specialty food products, and we look forward to seeing our customers and employees." The New York Post previously reported that Fairway was on the verge of bankruptcy and would be closing all of its locations, though interest from Village Super Market Inc. could save a "handful" of stores. Fairway, which was previously publicly traded, has struggled in the past. An ill-timed expansion and debt drove a chapter 11 filing in 2016. It emerged from bankruptcy with a new board and consortium ownership that includes Blackstone Group's GSO Capital Partners. The Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund is up 23.4% over the past year while the S&P 500 index has gained 26.6% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Tesla's stock rally boosts market cap above $100 billion
Shares of Tesla Inc. shot up 4.6% toward a record high in morning trading Wednesday, enough to lift the electric car maker's market capitalization above $100 billion. That should make Chief Executive Elon Musk pretty happy, as his compensation package includes performance milestones for market-cap thresholds, starting at $100 billion. The stock is now trading well above the Tuesday's record close of $547.20, and the all-time intraday high of $548.58. The market cap has swelled to $103.2 billion. Helping give Tesla's stock a boost on Wednesday was a price target increase by Wedbush analyst Dan Ives and a Bloomberg report that the company settled a lawsuit that paves the way for it to open service centers in Michigan. The stock has more than doubled (up 124.0%) over the past three months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 9.4%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Spotify's stock gets a lift after Ballie Gifford boosts stake to become largest shareholder
Shares of Spotify Technology S.A. gained 0.3% in morning trading Wednesday, after Scotland-based investment manager Ballie Gifford & Co. boosted its stake in the Luxembourg-based streaming music company by enough to make Ballie Gifford the largest shareholder. Ballie disclosed in a 13G/A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it now owns 21.7 million shares, or 11.82% of the shares outstanding, up from 19.1 million shares, or 10.41% of the shares outstanding as of Sept. 30. That lifts Ballie above the previous largest shareholder, Co-Founder Martin Lorentzon, who owned 11.59% of the shares outstanding, according to FactSet. Spotify's stock has run up 26.6% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has gained 11.3%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

S&P 500 and Nasdaq kick off trade at intraday records as stock market shakes of coronavirus-sparked malaise
U.S. stocks Wednesday at the open trading solidly higher, with the main benchmarks attempting a fresh assault on all-time highs, as investors tried to shake off worries about an Asian flu outbreak. Chinese authorities assured the public it was taking steps to contain what investors had feared might become a coronavirus pandemic that could threaten economic growth in the region and possibly spill over to other parts of the globe if the virus spread. However, investors appeared to react positively to assurances from President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "It's going to be just fine," the president told CNBC in an interview at the annual conference. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained about 92 points, or 0.3%, at 29,288, the S&P 500 index gained 0.4% to 3,332, while the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.5% to 9,415. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both touched intraday records near Wednesday's start.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

FuelCell's stock tumbles after wider-than-expected loss, revenue missed forecasts
Shares of FuelCell Energy Inc. plunged 23% on heavy volume in premarket trading Wednesday, after the fuel cell technology company reported a wider-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter loss and revenue that fell more than forecast. Trading volume was 10.4 million shares, making the stock the most actively traded ahead of the open. The net loss for the quarter to Oct. 31 was $36.0 million, or 23 cents a share, after a loss of $17.9 million, or $2.31 a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus for net losses per share was 11 cents. Revenue fell 38% to $11.0 million, reflecting FuelCell's decision to de-emphasize product sales to focus on utility scale power purchase agreement opportunities. That missed the FactSet revenue consensus of $11.5 million. Product sales fell 95% to $500,000, while generation revenue tripled (up 206%) to $5.5 million. Total contract backlog as of Oct. 31 increased 17% from last year to $1.32 billion. The stock, which closed Tuesday at an 8 1/2-month high, has run up more than 9-fold (up 832%) over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has gained 11%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Air Canada to remove Boeing 737 Max fleet from operating schedule through June 30
Air Canada said Wednesday it has removed its Boeing 737 Max fleet from its operating schedule through June 30, following the news from Boeing that it does not expect to get regulatory approval for the fleet to resume flying until mid-year. Air Canada grounded its 737 Max fleet in March in line with international regulations after the aircraft was involved in two fatal crashes.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Novavax stock falls after jumping on virus concerns
Shares of Novavax Inc. tumbled 15% in premarket trading on Wednesday following a day in which growing concern about the new coronavirus sent shares of vaccine developers soaring. On Tuesday after the market closed, Novavax filed an S-1 seeking to sell more than $100 million of its stock. The clinical-stage biotechnology company, which is developing a flu vaccine, told analysts it is developing clones from the new coronavirus as part of the first steps in developing a vaccine to treat the newly identified virus. "We don't expect Novavax will run human trials without non-dilutive government funding," Ladenburg Thalmann's Michael Higgens wrote in a note. "The timing for such support in our view depends on how severe and uncontrolled the 2019-nCoV becomes." Novavax in 2013 had developed a vaccine for Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which is also a coronavirus. This coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan City, China, and has infected more than 300 people and killed at least six more. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that a U.S. resident who had traveled to Wuhan and is now in Washington state is currently being treated. He is the first U.S. resident to be diagnosed with the virus. Novavax's stock has fallen 75% over the last year, while the SPDR S&P Biotech exchange-traded fund has climbed 13%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

FuelCell's stock tumbles after wider-than-expected loss, revenu missed forecasts
Shares of FuelCell Energy Inc. plunged 22% on heavy volume in premarket trading Wednesday, after the fuel cell technology company reported a wider-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter loss and revenue that fell more than forecast. Trading volume was 8.2 million shares, making the stock the most actively traded ahead of the open. The net loss for the quarter to Oct. 31 was $36.0 million, or 23 cents a share, after a loss of $17.9 million, or $2.31 a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus for net losses per share was 11 cents. Revenue fell 38% to $11.0 million, reflecting FuelCell's decision to de-emphasize product sales to focus on utility scale power purchase agreement opportunities. That missed the FactSet revenue consensus of $11.5 million. Product sales fell 95% to $500,000, while generation revenue tripled (up 206%) to $5.5 million. Total contract backlog as of Oct. 31 increased 17% from last year to $1.32 billion. The stock, which closed Tuesday at an 8 1/2-month high, has run up more than 9-fold (up 832%) over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has gained 11%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

McDonald's launches employee education app, Archways to Careers
McDonald's Corp. said Wednesday that it has launched an app that will help its employees take full advantage of the education benefits the fast-food giant offers. Archways to Careers will serve as a career advising tool that will connect workers with professionals at InsideTrack, a McDonald's partner and coaching organization. The app builds on the Archways to Opportunity program that helps workers learn English language skills, get a high school diploma and provides financial aid for college tuition. McDonald's stock has gained 14.4% over the past year while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 19.6% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Dow getting a 22-point boost from IBM's stock rally, J&J's decline after earnings
The premarket stock moves of companies reporting earnings would add about a net 22 points to the Dow Jones Industrial Average's price, as a rally in International Business Machines Corp. shares more than offset a drop in Johnson & Johnson's stock . Dow futures rose 79 points. IBM's stock surged 4.0% toward a 3 1/2-month high ahead of the open, with the implied price gain acting as a 37-point boost to the Dow's price. IBM reported late Tuesday revenue that surprisingly increased from a year ago and an adjusted profit that beat expectations. Johnson & Johnson shares slipped 1.5% after the consumer products and pharmaceutical company topped fourth-quarter profit expectations but came up a bit shy on revenue, with the implied price decline acting as a 15-point drag on the Dow.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Shares of Abbott Labs are up 1%; sales are up 7%
Shares of Abbott Laboratories were up 1% after the company reported sales increases across each of its four businesses in the fourth quarter of 2019. Net earnings were $1.05 billion, or 59 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, up from $654 million, or 37 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago. Abbott said that adjusted earnings per share were $0.95 per share, compared with the FactSet consensus of $0.95. Total sales were up 7.1% to $8.3 billion, compared with the FactSet consensus of $8.2 billion. Medical device sales increased 9.7%, nutrition sales rose 5.2%, pharmaceutical sales were up 7.8%, and laboratory diagnostics sales rose by 8.4%. Sales of the company's MitraClip device, which is used in minimally invasive cardiovascular procedures, jumped 27% to $191 million. Abbott said it expects adjusted EPS of $3.55 to $3.65 in 2020. The FactSet consensus is $3.61. Abbott's stock has gained 25% over the last year. The SPDR Health Care Select Sector exchange-traded fund is up 16%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained about 18%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Tesla's stock surges toward a record after Wedbush boosts target by nearly 50%
Shares of Tesla Inc. shot up 5.2% toward a record high in premarket trading Wednesday, after Wedbush analyst Dan Ives boosted his price target by nearly 50%, saying he expects delivery guidance will likely be strong on China demand. Separately, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that Tesla has settled with Michigan over a lawsuit challenging a state ban on direct-to-consumer, which clears the way for the company to operate service centers in the state. Wedbush's Ives reiterated the neutral rating he's had on Tesla's stock since April 2019 but raised his price target to $550 from $370. "With the drumroll of Tesla bulls now focused on earnings next week, January 29th after the bell. we believe Musk & Co. will not disappoint as underlying strength in China and Europe demand appear robust based on our analysis," Ives wrote in a note to clients. The stock, which is on track to open well above Tuesday's record close of $547.20, has more than doubled (up 114.1%) over the past three months through Tuesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 10.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Boeing stock slides premarket after Vertical Research downgrades, forecasts 'disaster' quarter
Boeing Co. shares were downgraded to hold from buy by Vertical Research Partners on Wednesday, after the aerospace giant said it does not expect its 737 Max fleet to resume flying until mid-2020, much later than previously expected. "While yet another push out in the estimated return to service of the MAX is bad enough, the ramifications of this have yet to reverberate," analysts Robert Stallard and Karl Oehlschlaeger wrote in a note to clients. "From a Boeing perspective, this means over a year without deliveries of its most profitable product line, while customer compensation costs are likely to be higher than previously thought. As we noted in our 4Q19 earnings preview, we are expecting Boeing's up-coming results to be "an absolute disaster", and that now looks guaranteed." Troubles with the Max, which has been grounded since two fatal crashes thought to be related to Boeing's MCAS system, are not the only challenges facing the company, said the note. The Max is inferior to Airbus' A320 NEO, the 787 rate is "arguably too high" and the 777x is facing development and demand challenges, said the note. "Overarching all this is the issue of 'Hubris' that we have noted before, and a toxic corporate culture that has arguably been the root cause of many of the problems that Boeing management now has to deal with. A new CEO could help, but in our experience changing a company's culture is a very tough, long term process," said the note. The analysts lowered their price target for Boeing stock to $294 from $388 and cut forecasts for 2019 to 2022. Shares were down 0.6% premarket and have fallen 12% in the last 12 months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 20% and the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Baker Hughes adjusted profit and revenue rise, but miss expectations
Baker Hughes Co. reported Wednesday fourth-quarter profit and revenue that rose less than expected, as beats in oilfield services and turbomachinery and process solutions revenue was offset by a miss in oilfield equipment. The stock was still inactive in premarket trading. Net income fell to $48 million, or 7 cents a share, from $131 million, or 28 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share grew to 27 cents from 26 cents, but were below the FactSet consensus of 31 cents. Revenue increased 1% to $6.35 billion, missing the FactSet consensus of $6.48 billion. Orders increased 1% to $6.94 billion. Oilfield services revenue rose 7% to $3.29 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $3.28 billion; turbomachinery revenue fell 8% to $1.32 billion, below expectations of $1.82 billion; oilfield equipment revenue rose 5% to $765 million, beating expectations of $753 million. The stock has gained 0.4% over the past three months, while the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF has slipped 1.3% and the S&P 500 has gained 10.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Canopy Growth names Constellation Brands board member Judy Schmeling as chair of its board
Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth Corp. said Wednesday it has named Judy Schmeling as chair of its board. Schmeling has been a board member since Nov. of 2018 and also sits on the board of Constellation Brands Inc. , Canopy's biggest shareholder, as well as on the board of Casey's General Stores. Canopy shares rose 1.1% in premarket trade, but have fallen 46% in the last 12 months, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF has fallen 41% and the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Express' stock surges after unveiling new 'profitable growth' strategy, to close 100 stores in 2 years
Shares of Express Inc. surged 4.1% in premarket trading Wednesday, after the apparel retailer unveiled a new corporate strategy aimed at profitable growth, narrowed its fiscal fourth-quarter profit outlook and said it will close 100 stores by 2022. The company now expects adjusted earnings per share of 17 cents to 19 cents, compared with the previous guidance range of 16 cents to 21 cents. Express said it expects same-stores sales for the quarter to be down approximately 3% from a year ago, versus previous guidance of down 1% to down 3%. The company said the planned store closures would reduce revenue by $90 million by 2022, but that will be offset by the elimination of costs and by leveraging the remaining stores for additional sales. Express said it has identified $80 million in annualized cost savings, including $55 million through workforce reductions and $25 million through process improvement and inventory optimization. The stock has declined 21.0% over the past 12 months through Tuesday, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has gained 4.3% and the S&P 500 has climbed 26.1%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Johnson & Johnson's stock slips after profit rises above expectations, but sales comes up a bit shy
Shares of Johnson & Johnson slipped 0.1% in premarket trading Wednesday, after the consumer products and drug giant reported a fourth-quarter profit that beat expectations but revenue that came up a bit shy. Net income rose to $4.01 billion, or $1.50 a share, from $3.04 billion, or $1.12 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share grew 4.6% to $1.88, above the FactSet consensus of $1.87. Sales rose 1.7% to $20.75 billion, just below the FactSet consensus of $20.80 billion. Consumer revenue increased 0.9% to $3.57 billion, below the FactSet consensus of $3.59 billion; pharmaceuticals sales grew 3.5% to $10.55 billion to top expectations of $10.43 billion; and medical device sales fell 0.5% to $6.63 billion to miss expectations of $6.69 billion. For 2020, the company expects net sales of $85.4 billion to $86.2 billion, surrounding the FactSet consensus of $85.52 billion. The stock has gained 0.4% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the SPDR Health Care Select Sector ETF has climbed 13.9% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced 9.0%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 22, 2020

Trump says coronavirus outbreak is 'under control' as he calls for more Fed rate cuts
President Donald Trump said the U.S. has the outbreak of the coronavirus under control and has been briefed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Speaking to CNBC, Trump said he wasn't worried it would turn into a pandemic and said the only person infected had flown in from China. He repeated his view that the impeachment is a "hoax." Trump batted away a question on whether the Fed's balance sheet was the prime reason for the stock-market gains. He said Fed interest rates should still go lower because the dollar is strong.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2020

Apple plans new cheaper iPhone model: report
Apple Inc. plans to launch a cheaper version of its iPhone in 2020, according to a Tuesday afternoon report based on sources within the company's supply chain. Bloomberg News reported during the extended session Tuesday that Apple suppliers plan to begin assembling the phone in February, and that Apple could announce the new device as early as March. Apple launched the iPhone SE, a lower-cost version of its smartphone, in a March 2016 event that was separate from its larger iPhone event, which typically takes place in September. Apple is expected to launch new 5G-equipped iPhones later in 2020, which could increase the price of those models. Apple shares gained about 0.2% in extended trading following the report's release Tuesday, after closing with a 0.7% decline at $316.57.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2020

Navient shares rise after earnings beat
Navient Corp. shares rose more than 6% in the extended session Tuesday after the company reported better-than-expected earnings. The financial services company reported fourth-quarter net income of $171 million, or 78 cents a share, compared with $72 million, or 63 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Navient reported adjusted diluted core earnings of 67 cents a share versus 58 cents a share a year ago. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated adjusted earnings of 58 cents a share, and for the first quarter model adjusted earnings of 70 cents a share. Navient stock has gained 27% over the past year, with the S&P 500 index rising 25%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2020

Intel installs a new chairman
Intel Corp. announced Tuesday afternoon that former Chief Financial Officer Andy Bryant stepped down as chairman of the chip maker last week, and will be succeeded by Medtronic PLC Chief Executive Omar Ishrak. Bryant, who said last year he intended to step down in 2020, has been chairman of the company since 2012. Ishrak will be considered an independent chairman. Ishrak will be replaced on the board by Alyssa Henry, a top executive at San Francisco payments company Square Inc. who previously worked for Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Intel is expected to announce fourth-quarter earnings after trading ends on Thursday afternoon.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2020

United Airlines earnings top forecasts, revenue comes in line
United Airlines Holdings Inc. shares inched higher late Tuesday after the airline beat Wall Street's adjusted profit expectations in its fourth quarter. United said it earned $641 million, or $2.53 a share, in the quarter, compared with $461 million, or $1.69 a share, in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted for one-time items, United earned $676 million, or $2.67 a share, in the quarter, compared with $2.40 a share a year ago. Revenue reached $10.9 billion, compared with $10.5 billion a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected United to report adjusted earnings of $2.65 a share on sales of $10.9 billion. The stock ended the regular trading day down 4.4%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2020

VMware to acquire Nyansa for undisclosed sum
VMware Inc. said late Tuesday it planned to acquire Nyansa Inc. for an undisclosed sum. VMware stock was up less than 0.1% in the extended session. Nyansa is a closely held Palo Alto, Calif.-based network analytics software company that has raised nearly $30 million in venture capital dollars, according to Crunchbase. "Nyansa is a proven solution that solves many of the shortcomings of today's vendor-specific solutions," Sanjay Uppal, a vice president and general manager at VMware, said in a statement. "Nyansa currently analyzes user network traffic from more than 20 million client devices across thousands of customer sites at companies including Tesla, Uber, Lululemon, Rooms To Go, GE Healthcare, SF International Airport, Stanford, Northeast Georgia Healthcare System and many others." VMware stock closed down 1.8% during the regular session Tuesday as the S&P 500 index fell 0.3%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



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